Sleeping giant stirs at Hamilton Crescent
William Dick (CricketMedia Scotland)
WEST of Scotland have been described in recent times as Scottish cricket’s sleeping giant but the signs are that something is stirring at Hamilton Crescent.
Certainly, the Partick men were wide awake for their Western Premier division opener at Ayr on Saturday, cruising to a comprehensive eight-wicket success.
Their triumph was based on some devastating bowling by John Blain and Ian Cran who shared nine wickets while conceding only 20 runs between them.
The arrival of Blain, the former Scotland, Northants and Yorkshire bowler, as West’s player-coach is clearly a significant factor in the resurgence.
Blain, still a more-than-able performer with the ball, is clearly encouraged by the young talent coming through at West though he will not get carried away with one win especially since his side suffered a shock cup defeat to East Kilbride just seven days earlier.
The 33 year-old also had some positive words for an Ayr side who were outplayed on the day. “Ayr are a good club with a great set-up but they came up short on the day and maybe lack a bit of depth,” said Blain who was impressed with the home side’s Scotland U19 bowler Scott McElnea.
“But there are times when all clubs need to go through a transitional period and I think we are in a similar position at West. There are some really good young cricketers coming through and I’m looking forward to working with them.”
Blain has already shown faith in teenager Gavin Smith who shared the new ball with Dave McNulty even if, on this occasion, it took the introduction of Blain and Ian Cran to swing the game decisively in West’s favour.
While Ayr had been progressing at almost five runs an over, the experienced Blain and Cran applied the brakes with the former claiming 5-11 and Cran taking 4-9.
Their menace meant that the home side could muster just 75 runs. That was never going to be enough to challenge West and, despite the early departure of Ian Young and Gregg Watson, they cruised to their target in less than twenty-three overs.
Andrew Umeed, the highly promising Scotland U19 batsman, led the way with 41no while the veteran Dougie Lockhart kept things ticking over with an unbeaten 20.
Blain added: “The wicket had something in it. There was good bounce and a bit of seam but you could also bat on it. It’s a bit of a shame it wasn’t more of a game but we have to be pleased with the start we’ve made. Now we have to build on it.”
Elsewhere, the signs are that Greenock may have a long hard season ahead after they suffered a heavy defeat to top flight newcomers Dumfries at Glenpark.
Half-centuries from Joe Clarke and Josh Geary hoisted the visitors’ tally to 199 before Pat Druce and Alan Davidson combined with four wickets apiece to dismiss Greenock for just 88.
The eagerly anticipated Lanarkshire derby between Drumpellier and Uddingston was a victim of the weather as was Clydesdale’s clash with Stirling.